The biggest gap in the Big East standings between any team and the team either in front of it or the team behind it from first place through seventh place is a game and a half. There are two weeks left in the regular season, and there is a whole bunch of stuff still at stake in terms of conference positioning for the Big East tournament. Nothing can be locked in this week in terms of specific spots, but teams will be jostling back and forth in the standings all week long.
Remove your own personal fan interests from things, and you have to admit: that’s all you really want to see in a conference.
Let’s see what the big highlights are this week, shall we?
Wednesday, February 26: Georgetown Hoyas at Marquette Golden Eagles (7:30pm Central, FS1) - As of an update marked “February 24” on BracketMatrix.com, Georgetown is currently projected as a First Four Out team in the NCAA tournament. With four games left to go, the Hoyas kind of can’t lose again if they want to fight their way into the field of 68, especially after losing their last two games and especially after losing to DePaul on Saturday. On the other side of the aisle, Marquette is riding a three game losing streak which started immediately after the Golden Eagles moved into the AP poll for the first time this season. They’re not in much danger of missing the tournament, but then again, if MU is an NCAA tournament team, they should also not be losing basketball games to a Georgetown team that’s trying to drag itself across the finish line with five healthy scholarship players. Omer Yurtseven made his big return for the Hoyas on Saturday after missing the last two games due to injury, and Mac McClung has missed five of the last six games for Georgetown and only played eight minutes in the game he did play in. Both teams need a win here in the worst way.
Saturday, February 29: Providence Friars at #12 Villanova Wildcats (11am Central, Fox) - Heading into the week, this is a battle between the teams in third and fourth place in the conference, and by default, that makes it an interesting one to watch at this point of the calendar. The Friars have won five of their last seven and three straight overall to find themselves suddenly turning up as a First Four squad on BracketMatrix.com, and after their 6-6 start to the season and 4-4 start to Big East play, that’s downright impressive. Villanova has rebounded from three straight losses to what appeared to be the other teams in the top half of the Big East (Butler has not cooperated since then) by winning four straight games. That’s not really the kind of thing that Providence would like to see, but hey, this was a 64-60 contest in Rhode Island earlier this season.
Saturday, February 29: #13 Seton Hall Pirates at Marquette Golden Eagles (1:30pm Central, Fox) - One final guaranteed showdown this season between Myles Powell and Markus Howard. Powell’s Pirates won the first one, 69-55, in Newark back on January 11th. This is the return bout in Milwaukee, and yes, it will be Senior Day for Howard, as well as Sacar Anim and Jayce Johnson. We already talked about Marquette’s need to shake off their losing streak earlier in the week, so however that one goes will dictate some of the importance here. Still, even if MU beats Georgetown on Wednesday, the Golden Eagles will still be in need of a high quality win down the stretch just because, and knocking off first place Seton Hall would be a big help there. This is Seton Hall’s only game of the week, so we’ll go ahead and presume that every single Creighton fan on the face of the planet will be pulling hard for the Golden Eagles here, too.
Friday, February 28 & Sunday, March 1: I wanted to include a note in this about women’s basketball, but it involves five games and I would just be repeating myself for each one. Here’s the deal: Marquette is currently in second place at 12-5, Butler is third at 11-5, Villanova is fourth at 10-6. Marquette has one game left, at home against DePaul, the already crowned regular season champions. The Golden Eagles are not going to be favored to win that game, which means that BU and VU, both of whom earned a season split against Marquette in the regular season, have an opportunity to create havoc. With two wins at St. John’s and at Seton Hall, Butler would pass Marquette for second if the Golden Eagles lose. Villanova needs wins at Creighton and at Providence to create a theoretical three-way tie for second place if Marquette loses and if Butler loses one of their games. If the Bulldogs drop both, then two Wildcat wins would jump Villanova into a two-way tie with the Golden Eagles if they fall to DePaul. Or Marquette could just upset the nationally ranked Blue Demons on Sunday afternoon and force Butler to win both of their games in order to create a MU/BU tie for second. I told you it was a lot! Villanova/Creighton on Friday night is on FS1, Marquette/DePaul on Sunday is on FS2, and everything else is streaming for free on the Big East’s YouTube page.
Here’s the full men’s basketball schedule for the week, with all times Central as always.
Big East MBB Schedule: Week 17
|Tues., February 25
|DePaul at Xavier
|CBS Sports Network
|Wed., February 26
|St. John's at #12 Villanova
|Georgetown at Marquette
|Sat., February 29
|Providence at #12 Villanova
|#13 Seton Hall at Marquette
|DePaul at Butler
|Sun., March 1
|#10 Creighton at St. John's
|Xavier at Georgetown